What is a teacher?

Heather MacKillop made this video in 2011 and it has only had 13 views. Does that mean she doesn’t have a real message? Does it mean what she thinks doesn’t have value? People can put things up on YouTube and get millions of hits. Are their thoughts more important and helpful than Heather MacKillop’s? I watched this video and could see some really valuable messages and lessons for us as teachers. What is a teacher in the 21st century? I think her point that we are shaping students as they shape us is crucial to who we are as teachers in 2015. Students are not just beings to be plugged into a port and we download information into them. We are shaping them. We are trail blazers but we also need to be genuine and authentic in our relationships with students so we can show them the way, share with them and create prooductive relationships with them. teachers One of the most important aspects of this video is how Heather MacKillop has gathered together so many media images of teachers and stuck thoughts about teachers and then made the bold statement in the picture: They will never make a movie about a teacher that made a teacher smile on the worst day of their grade 7 year. They will never write a book about a teacher who made a student go from a C- to a C+. . Teachers can make a difference in small, profound ways. With the advent of technology we can give and gain feedback far more easily. Everyone has a voice and so each student now can represent themselves and can be built up and moved forward. This video poses some interesting ideas worth discussing and clarifying . I was looking at the teacher and classroom images. Is that how I want teachers and classes represented in media? No. A good reason for us all to be out there representing our profession as it truly is. We are not our stereotypes nor our ancestors.

How to give a great lesson

This PowToon presentation gives you food for thought about how to organise content for a classroom. The students we teach now are visual.They do learn more quickly and better with animated and visual presentations. They do learn more efficiently if you keep the board clear except for two or three things and then move on. I have also used PowToon with students and they really like it. I didn’t use it last year because we were looking at other animation software to use in class. PowToon was easy for them to use and they produced some really good assignments with the content we were learning. Using a more visual approach needs rethinking and making the most of a visual approach need practice. Using a graphic organiser like the one I put up in my last post helps you to rethink materials and resources for lessons. This video has reminded me to think about something else again. It’s how you start a lesson. The first 5 minutes are critical. Once you have their attention by using technology, it rarely wanders off in my experience but you have to get those first 5 minutes right. I am going to focus on improving that and this video demonstrates when you keep the conversation going, you move the information and you build a narrative, you can gain attention quite easily and then deliver worthwhile content. I could do worse than decontruct this video to see how I could improve my presntation skills in a lesson.

The flipped classroom

We are going to work on flipping our classrooms as a school this year. We are a busy school with good access to technology and resources. Why wouldn’t you want to make the best of your teaching time and technology? Flipping the classroom is a concept which can make better use of the resources you have, including human resources. It is not just something which you can do. You have to work through the steps. This video alerts you to the things students need to know as your transition to a flipped classroom. It also alerts you, as a teacher, to the things you need to pay attention to. This week’s posts will be dedicated to the flipped classroom because it is new to us and luckily old hands have shared their ideas and resources online so we can benefit and build on them. So where do you start?

1. Work out what students ought to be able to do by themselves and where they would need your help in class.
2. Encourage them to take notes and write their questions and difficulties down.
3. Establish a content library .

The content library is critical. Where will it be? How will students access it? This is discovery learning with technology. The follow up in class needs to then look at how each student can be learning from what you have provided. It is focussing on making the most of you as a teacher to teach all the students in your class so that your class time is interactive and focussed more on explicit learning.

I am a teacher

Susan Simon has two lovely videos to make teachers realise who they are and what they do and why technology is there to support them. It could never replace a teacher. I am a Teacher 2 can be found here. In South Australia we go back to school tomorrow and the students will come in next Tuesday after the Australia Day holiday. Our holidays are gone and we are readying ourselves for the new school year.LavaLamp I have reorganised my desktop area at home so I am ready to go and am all set to sparkle into 2015. Now that I have looked at those two videos, I am more than convinced teachers are very special.

Teaching in the 21st Century

Teaching in the 21st Century complete with Bloom’s Taxonomy. A video worth watching because it keeps asking the questions which we need to answer. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we have to re-evaluate on a regular basis what students need to learn. The world is moving along at a rapid pace and jobs are shifting and changing. We will always need people who can think, who can participate , who can be a part of a team. We need people with fresh ideas, insight, a capacity to trouble shoot and go out on a limb. We need communicators and we need people who can understand what to keep and what to let go. Students do have access to their own avenues of information. They can learn what they want to but a lot of what they could learn will pass them by without good teachers who can teach the knowledge and skills to make students more effective independent learners who can really take advantage of the information rich age. This video provides a platform for thinking about what you think is important when you are using technology in a classroom and how you can get the best use out of it for your students.